Is it possible to add a timestamp (preferably a UNIX timestamp) to WAV filenames? I know I can add a start timestamp to tracks in an Audacity project, but when I export the wav file it’s still titled ‘untitled.wav’ and there’s no addition to the metadata as far as I can tell. Adding a start or end timestamp to either the filename or the metadata would solve my problem - description below.
I’m running a community science experiment for my dissertation work, asking ham radio operators to record time standard stations during the total solar eclipse across South America on December 14th. [link: https://hamsci.org/december-2020-eclipse-festival-frequency-measurement]
I’ve run similar experiments in the past, most recently for an annular eclipse in June, and I’m trying to put together a protocol that operators can use for future eclipses as well.
In the past I’ve had users manually name the files with the UNIX timestamp when the recording starts and their ham radio callsign: e.g, “1592282573 - W8EDU.wav”. (I use the UNIX timestamp, as opposed to something more human-readable, because I’m receiving data from multiple timezones and it lets me sidestep that whole set of issues.)
You may be experiencing one of the main reasons Audacity doesn’t make a very good surveillance recorder. No time stamps. There’s other reasons, but that’s a big one.
I have a workaround that almost solves it. It’s really unsatisfying, though.
Here’s a question that’s very close to mine: [https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/mp3-file-name-options-prefix/47124/1]
Someone wanted to save a timestamp in the filename of an exported MP3, pretty much the same thing I’m looking to do only without time zone concerns.
Their workaround: Add an empty dummy track and then use CTRL-Shift-L (Export Multiple) to generate files according to track name, thus taking advantage of the timestamp-in-track-name feature. You get two .wav files out: one that you want, and one labeled “Audio Track.wav” that you can delete at your leisure. This does solve the problem for, I think, some number of people who are encountering it.
It has a disadvantage for my application, however: It does not account for timezones. I can work around that by having the user add their timezone into the metadata as an alphanumeric or an offset, and in the default track name with a designation letter [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_military_time_zones]. It’s more error-prone than just asking the system, but less error-prone than asking a human to type in a UNIX timestamp 1-20 times over the course of a weeklong experiment. (If there were an option to select UTC time for the timestamp in the track title, that’d solve this nicely.)
Under this workaround, the steps to stop and restart recording then become:
- Stop recording
- Tracks > Add New > Mono Track
- Export Multiple
- Delete all tracks
- Restart recording (track name now has new timestamp)
I’d like to make a macro for this, but although “Export WAV” has a macro command, “Export Multiple” does not. However, based on the recording length page [https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/recording_length.html#:~:text=Wiki%20for%20details.-,Long%20recordings,at%2044100%20Hz%20sample%20rate).], it seems like users may not have to stop and restart recording as often as I feared.
It’s true, I’m doing a bit of round peg/square hole work here.
My main reasons for favoring Audacity are that (a) it’s widely adopted and not going anywhere, (b) its interface is pretty straightforward and navigable, and (c) it has a bunch of language options, which is useful when conducting international experiments. The ability to add metadata fields to the WAV files is also a big plus, and I haven’t yet found a way to do that in Spectrum Lab [DL4YHF's Audio Spectrum Analyser], which is the other program I’ve been considering for the task.
Anything else I should be concerned about, though?
Audacity is using “system time”. You can change the Windows time zone: https://www.tenforums.com/tutorials/6401-change-time-zone-windows-10-a.html